A Suffolk man has been charged in connection to a crash that killed one man and injured another in April pleaded guilty to two charges in front of a Suffolk judge Thursday.
Camren Lamar Artis, 19, pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and texting while operating a vehicle. The reckless driving charge was nolle prossed, according to Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney George Bruch. The judge accepted Artis’s plea.
“Mr. Artis, after his attorney evaluated the law, decided to take responsibility for his action, and came in and entered his plea of guilty involving the death of an individual,” said Bruch. “Unintentional, due to his texting while driving resulting in involuntary manslaughter and the judge did accept his plea.”
On the night of April 3, emergency crews were called to a three-vehicle crash on Godwin Boulevard near Five Mile Road. Police said the crash involved two cars and a pickup truck. The crash killed 57-year-old Duke F. Doyle, of Suffolk. The driver of the pickup truck had injuries considered not life-threatening, according to police.
According to a search warrant affidavit obtained by 10 On Your Side, Artis’ vehicle rear-ended another vehicle, causing it to be hit head-on by a third vehicle. The search warrant affidavit says Artis claimed that the vehicle in front of him stopped suddenly, but his vehicle left skid marks that were inconsistent with his statement. The document goes on to say that Artis said he had a cell phone with him.
“It’s that one time they take their eyes off the road to look at that text or send a text that results in the death of someone’s loved one and results in events that occur (like) with Mr. Artis where you are charged with charges of involuntary manslaughter and so forth,” said Bruch. “We are seeing it more and more in crashes, police officers are observing it more and more on the street and its becoming more prevalent than not that we are seeing it.”
Artis’s phone was seized by police after the accident, according to documents.
10 On Your Side spoke to Artis’s attorney, who didn’t have much to say, but told us his client will continue to study at Norfolk State University. According to documents, Artis continues to play in the Norfolk State University marching band.
Artis is due back in court June 21 for sentencing.